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A shoe salesman comes to terms with his life
Atlas-523 August 2000
In "Jack and His Friends", when an overweight, balding, middle aged shoe salesmen, and a cuckold to boot, meets two young punks on the lam from the law, what emerges is a film that contains not only a half dozen serious belly laughs but remains at the same time poignant and unforgettable. Allen Garfield, Sam Rockwell, and Judy Reyes exhibit masterful comic timing under the brilliantly manic direction of Bruce Ornstein, who also wrote the screenplay. "Jack..." is clearly reminiscent of both Rohmer and Truffaut in its humanity, while joining the ranks of Almodovar in its tone and ability to surprise. (Film festival goers take note - Ornstein was hailed as the "next Almodovar" at the San Sebastian Film Festival in Spain)

Kidnapped to his off season island home, Jack (Garfield) comes face to face with his existence at the behest of Louie (Rockwell) and Rosie (Reyes). The trio of outstanding performances are well supported by Marianne (Alison Fraiser) as the sexually starved wife of her psychiatrist husband, Tom. (Paul Hecht) Fraiser and Hecht exhibit moments of comedic game playing that brings to mind what Noel Coward would have written had he lived through the new millennium.

Dan Stoloff contributes soul satisfying cinematography.

What we have here is a gem of a film that was somehow undiscovered at the time of its release. If what you seek are great performances contained within a brilliant story, the discovery of a major directing talent, and to laugh, laugh, laugh -- RUN! (for god sakes, don't walk!) to see "Jack and His Friends".
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Sam Rockwell is the best part
lyndsay115 August 2000
I agree with the first person to leave feedback, the starring role is the major downfall of the movie. Some of his dialogue was humorous but there was too little. Sam Rockwell stands out, and in my opinion is the most humorous part of the movie. Jeremy Roberts has his moments too as Jack's former island friend, who shows up at his house to rob him.
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Sam Rockwell makes this film notable
pjr18 March 1999
Some day people will view this film because it is Sam Rockwell's first starring role as an adult (he played a high school student in Clownhouse when he was 18). Nobody saw the movie in theatrical release. It played for a week in one theater in Santa Monica. It came out on video but is almost impossible to find in video rental stores. It's not a great film, but Rockwell's performance makes it worth watching. Judy Reyes and some of the supporting actors are also excellent. Allen Garfield in the title role is the major weak spot.
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Pretentious drivel - for hardcore Sam Rockwell fans only
graham clarke11 March 2004
As others have stated, the only reason to see this is to catch one of Sam Rockwell's first major roles. This would be the first of many likable petty criminals Rockwell would go on to play. However, you'd have to be a hard core fan of his to sit through this movie.

I would not be surprised to learn that this dialog was initially intended for the stage. The problem is that despite trying so hard to be witty and original, it's actually all very old fashioned. It's very much 1960's absurd theater dialog of the kind Albee was writing, though with less, much less, wit.

Allan Garfield does what he can, but even giving his all, it still does not work. Judy Reyes performance, while not without some charm, is basically very amateurish. So, all that remains of interest is Sam Rockwell. In this early role, his strangely compelling screen persona is very much evident. So sharp is his talent, it overcomes this pretentious drivel.
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Worthwhile film!
lioracc18 December 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Judy Reyes and Sam Rockwell are amazing in this film. There are some very sexy moments. And some very funny moments with Sam/Judy and also I love the introduction of the pretentious "friends" the psychiatrist and his lesbian wife....played artfully by 2 actors. As stated before, the leading role is weak. very weak. But somehow even that works. Because Jack is just so pathetic and clueless and we are supposed to despise him and everyone who chooses to delude themselves and live in pain. But he changes in positive ways.

This film is interesting. It calls into question all the comfy suburban fluff most people call their lives. I think this is why Sam Rockwell was drawn to the role (which is not too challenging for him as an actor) OH OH you have to see the scene where he and Judy Reyes are having dinner with Jack and totally ripping his fake, horrible life apart in front of his eyes, it's done in a hilarious way, it's not as mean spirited as it sounds.
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